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Regulatory and accounting issues: a
focus on energy commodity markets
Wendi Farrell, Executive Director, Shane Henley, Senior Manager, and Rida Rahmani, Manager, of
FAAS Commodity Trading Risk Management, Ernst & Young, provide relevant and timely insights
into the important regulatory and accounting changes facing commodity and energy markets
he two important changes facing commodity
and energy markets are market regulation and
accounting developments for Liquefied Natural Gas
© f l ic k r /Shel l
A wave of regulation is on its way – will it create a
sea change for traded commodity markets?
In response to the 2008 global financial crisis, both US
and European regulators embarked on a significant
shake-up of the way in which regulators would like
to see traded markets regulated and supervised. These
changes are likely to have a significant impact not only
on financial markets, but also on traded commodity
and energy markets.
With the Dodd-Frank legislation leading the way
in the US, Europe duly proposed similar regulation in
the form of MiFID2 (Markets in Financial Instruments
Directive) and EMIR (European Market Infrastructure
Regulation). The former builds on existing regulation
and seeks to further tighten the rules regulating
Liquified natural gas plant, Qatar
44 - info - november / december
trading venues and participants in financial markets,
while the latter introduces new requirements
including the mandatory clearing of over-the-counter
(OTC) derivative trades.
The lack of transparency of the OTC derivative
market is considered to be a major contributor in
enabling the financial crisis. Greater transparency
over these derivatives at an aggregate level is viewed
by many to be a key component in helping to avoid
similar failures in future. Both regulations, MiFID2
and EMIR, currently progressing through the EU
legislative process, may carry significant implications
for European commodity and energy market
participants which were largely exempt from existing
In parallel with the enhanced financial market
regulation, pan-European regulation has been
introduced that specifically aims to regulate traded
wholesale electricity and gas markets. Regulation
of Energy Market Integrity and Transparency
(REMIT) shares a number of similar objectives of the
financial market regulation. This includes ensuring
market transparency and the prevention of market
manipulation across an ever-increasingly integrated
European energy market. Although introduced at the
end of 2011, the impact of this regulation is likely to be
felt over the next 12 months as the main operational
and compliance requirements are implemented.
The collective impact of these regulations on
commodity and energy markets is not yet fully
understood by the participants. Market participants
have expressed concern over the adverse or unintended
consequences of the regulations. These include
the potential for increasing capital requirements,
reduced market liquidity and the heavy operational
© f l ic k r /s que a k s25 6 9
Liquified natural gas plant, Arizona
and technology investment required to report
derivatives for financial reporting purposes.
Over recent years, however, LNG trading has gained
trading activity to the various regulatory bodies as
proposed under the regulation. It is crucial, however,
substantial momentum to become one of the more
that over the next few months,
actively traded commodities. Due
to the increased liquidity in the
market participants dedicate the
necessary resources to identify
European, Asian and US markets,
The collective impact of these
there has been a significant rise
what these changes might mean
in spot contracts which are now
for their organisations and to
regulations on commodity
becoming a core feature of a
put in motion an appropriate
and energy markets is not
response. Our market intelligence
trader’s portfolio.
yet fully understood by the
indicates a surprisingly large
As the LNG market is
participants ... it is crucial
transforming from a niche, highnumber of organisations have yet
they dedicate the necessary
cost activity focused on specific
to approach this in a concerted
resources to identify what
markets into a core feature of the
these changes might mean for global gas trading strategy, players
are reassessing their accounting
Accounting for LNG contracts: their organisations
approach. With the increased
fair value or accrual account?
liquidity in the market and
The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
market was previously characterised by LNG being
traders capturing regional arbitrage opportunities
and optimising their positions across the global
contracted on fixed long-term agreements with
LNG market, it may not be long before most LNG
pricing formulae indexed to other commodities. These
trading contracts fall comfortably within the scope
contracts were primarily used as equity purchase
of IAS 39. However, the valuation of these contracts
agreements in the portfolio. Therefore, most of these
might remain challenging, given the lack of available
contracts were scoped out of International Accounting
quoted prices. I
Standard (IAS) 39 as they did not meet the criteria of
info - november / december - 45